Far-right Australian Senator Fraser Anning has doubled down on the Islamophobic anti-immigration comments he made following the mass shooting in Christchurch that left 50 dead, and refused to apologise.
In a press conference in Brisbane on Monday, the Queensland Senator said he wanted to clarify the comments he made last on Friday, both on Twitter and in a statement on Australian parliamentary letterhead, where he blamed the incident on the “growing fear over an increased Muslim presence” in Australia and Zealand communities.
He added that the “real cause” of the shooting had been immigration programmes that “allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place".
On Monday, he repeated those comments, accusing the media of “twisting” his words and lashing out at Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
“Countries that allow large-scale Muslim immigration invariably have escalations in crime, violence and terrorist attacks.
“As far as I’m concerned that’s just a statement of fact and for some reason that’s upset a lot of people including Mr Morrison. He said my statements were disgusting.
“I see nothing disgusting about stating facts,” he said.
New Zealand has an historically low refugee intake quota of 1,000 people a year, and last year net migration was 48,300 people, down from 52,700 the previous year.
Of those that migrated to New Zealand, the majority were from China, which has a very small Muslim population.
During the press conference, Mr Anning cited Nazis, repeated calls for a ban on Muslim immigration and compared hitting a teenager who smashed an egg on his head to trench warfare.
Politicians from across the political divide in Australia have continued to condemn his comments, which were made within hours of the mosque attacks.
The government and opposition are joining forces to censure Mr Anning when parliament resumes next month.
The motion will condemn him for heartless and offensive victim-blaming over the mosque shooting.
A petition to have Mr Anning removed from parliament has been signed by more than a million people.
“Senator Fraser Anning has no place in the government of our democratic and multicultural country. We request that he be expelled from his position as senator, and investigated by law enforcement agencies for supporting right wing terrorism,” said Sydney doctor Kate Ahmad, one of the women who started the petition.
Australia’s houses of Parliament are unable to expel Mr Anning for his behaviour. He can only be expelled if he is convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment for a year or longer.
In the press conference, Mr Anning reiterated that he condemned violence, but when questioned by journalists about why he had hit a boy, 17, who egged him, he defended his actions.
“He got a slap across the face, which is what his mother should have given him long ago because he’s been misbehaving badly.”
Police were investigating the incident.
High profile Australian criminal lawyer Adam Houda has demanded Mr Anning face charges for hitting the teenager.
On Twitter he called it “a clear case of assault on a child”.
He has offered to defend the boy, Will Connolly, free of charge.